LONDON: WPP Group's board has agreed the company will bear the full £2.5 million ($4.94m; €3.67m) costs of Sir Martin Sorrell's personal libel action against Italian firm Full-six Spa and its former executives, Marco Benatti and Marco Tinelli.

According to BBC business editor Robert Peston, most WPP-watchers had expected the bill to be split between Sorrell and the company.

The decision to relieve Sir Martin of the eye-watering cost of defending his honour was taken at a board meeting on May 10, although it is not known if their largesse will be defrayed by the £120,000 damages awarded to the knight after an out-of-court settlement [WARC News: 29-Mar-07].

The decision to impose the full costs of the case on shareholders was taken ahead of WPP's upcoming annual meeting, in accordance with UK company law.

It is not likely to be met with enthusiasm by investors - although their grudging consensus will probably be that the adland knight is - in the immortal words of the L'Oréal ads - "worth it".

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff